A TAFE mining program in New South Wales has released figures suggesting the number of women in the industry is increasing, but concedes there is still more work to be done to achieve gender balance.
The NSW Muswellbrook Mining Skills Program has been running for over 14 years, with the number of female participants increasing from zero to nine, with this year’s class being made up of 29 per cent women.
The growth of female participants is representative of a wider industry trend, as last financial year 16.7 per cent of employees and 16.4 per cent of key management personnel were women.
This compares to female a representation of 16.1 per cent of employees and 14.8 per cent of key management in 2017.
“Resource companies are making considerable efforts to attract and retain women. TAFE NSW fully supports this and takes pride in our role of teaching, mentoring and encouraging our female students to become well-qualified and confident industry participants,” TAFE NSW regional general manager Susie George said.
Commenting on the need for greater diversity, 22-year-old TAFE NSW Muswellbrook student Antonia Moncrieff said women brought a range of unique skills to the mining industry.
“Diversity brings different perspectives and problem-solving skills – I believe women are excellent at resolving conflict and mentoring others, whether female or male, I believe that’s one of our strengths,” she said
“Women bring lots of positive qualities and with an increase in our participation comes an increase in highly skilled people in the workplace.”
NSW Women in Mining Network co-chair and BHP lead corporate affairs NSW, Deirdra Tindale echoed this sentiment, saying female participation not only benefitted mining companies but also the local community.
“Companies are realising gender diversity is no longer simply a nice or a good thing to do, but the right thing to do – both for broader society and their own bottom lines,” she said
“We have seen that diversity delivers improved productivity results, greater access to talent, stronger employee retention and reduced employee turnover.”